Hunting Hogs With The 300 BLK

The author sloshes through Mississippi mud with a suppressed Daniel Defense 300 BLK in search of up-close swamp-hog action.

Hunting Hogs With The 300 BLK

If it weren’t 95 degrees, with 90-percent humidity crowding my personal space, I would have sworn it was bow season in the Deep South.

I was perched in a hang-on stand with a corn feeder 20 yards below me, and thankful for the thick forest canopy shielding me from the intense August sun. I stared at the Daniel Defense Ambush rifle sitting in my lap. Moving my eyes up the barrel I was fixated on the beautiful SilencerCo suppressor firmly attached to the muzzle. This was my first suppressed hunt and I’d been daydreaming about this opportunity for a while now.

I caught the suppressor bug the year prior when my home state of Alabama legalized suppressors for hunting. My weapon of choice for this hunt was a Daniel Defense Ambush 300 BLK. I’m a big fan of the Ambush series of rifles from Daniel Defense — I personally hunt with a 6.8 SPCII version. The camo-finished rifle has a Geisele two-stage trigger, 18-inch cold-hammer forged barrel and six-position buttstock.

We were hunting just off the Mississippi River near Natchez, Miss., with Rex Holmes, the inventor and owner of Vapor Trail Scents. His most popular scent blend is called 33 Point Buck, which is an attractant and scent eliminator.

Holmes is a big-time bowhunter and videos hunts for TV and marketing promotions for his product. When he sets up a feeder for hogs, he places two treestands (one for the shooter and one for the camera man positioned a little higher up the tree) within 20-30 yards. This makes the perfect setup for a suppressed 300 BLK rig, too.

Ammo Details

The 300 BLK round, when loaded supersonic, pushes a 110- to 125-grain bullet about 2,200 to 2,400 fps. However, the popularity of the 300 BLK is that it can be loaded subsonic as well. When loaded with a 208- to 240-grain bullet, muzzle velocity drops to around 1,000 fps or slightly lower — slower than the speed of sound, which ranges from a little more than 1,000 fps to 1,125 fps depending on air temp.

The subsonic load produces about 500 ft./lbs. of energy compared to 1,400 ft./lbs in the supersonic load. However, the subsonic speed is the important factor when thinking in terms of the effectiveness of a suppressor. A .30-caliber suppressor will cut nearly all of the bang from the subsonic 300 BLK load and because the bullet’s speed doesn’t break the sound barrier there is no supersonic crack produced like there is when firing a .223 or any other supersonic load.

This means that the subsonic BLK load is nearly quiet. In fact, the loudest sound from a shot in my rig is the semi-auto bolt slamming home after a shot and the smack of bullet on flesh when shooting a hog.

The 300 BLK ‘s reduced speed gives it a large arch, which makes the 300 BLK obsolete for long-range work (beyond 100 yards). However, when your mission is to remove destructive feral hogs from hunting properties at bowhunting yardages, the silent 300 BLK is the perfect tool for the job.

On the Hunt

It wasn’t long before I was snapped out of my suppressor dream state when my hunting partner, Trey Crossno, whispered, “Deer coming.” It wasn’t deer season, but we didn’t want to alarm any incoming animals, which in turn might alarm nearby hogs. So we sat completely still as two does walked within 15 yards below us, feeding on the corn. Soon, two swamp rabbits came out and began to feed. Closer to dusk, a couple of raccoons joined the party. We had all kinds of wildlife within bowrange, but no hogs, so we sat patiently.

It’s legal to shoot hogs after dark in Mississippi on private land, so we brought along a thermal adapters from EOTech and also had other rifles outfitted with Night Optics night vision scopes. Our plan was to sit after dark if hogs didn’t come out early. With the sun already gone and the ambient light fading quickly, it appeared as if that was going to be the case.

Then suddenly both raccoons quickly fled and climbed a pine sapling nearby. Within seconds a dark silhouette bolted into the feeding area. It paused briefly and then took off, disappearing into the pine saplings along the shallow end of the pond we were perched near. Confused, Crossno and I sat intently staring into the pines.

Without notice the silhouette quickly returned and stepped into the open. We could easily see this was a large hog as it began feeding below. At first it would take a few bites of corn and then retreat into the thicket to chomp it. Then it would step back out and eat some more. After a few minutes it fed in the open and calmed down. That’s when I said that I was going to take my shot.

I activated the red-dot reticle in the EOTech sight and propped the rifle in my left palm as I steadied my elbow on my knee. I could easily see the illuminated red dot on the hog’s silhouetted body, but I wanted to aim more precise than what I was able to. So I flipped up the 3X EOTech magnifier and now had a much more pinpoint aiming point on the hog’s front shoulder. I placed the red dot just behind the front shoulder and waited for the pig to step in for a bite. I knew I had a few seconds where the hog would stand still — while picking up corn kernels — for me to make the shot.

As soon as the red dot settled where I wanted it, I squeezed a couple pounds worth of tension on the trigger and then I heard, “phewwwwt.” Next was the sound of the bolt-carrier group chambering another Freedom Munitions 208-grain A-Max round. I also heard the sound of bullet smashing bone before the hog spun and ran off through the pine thicket, across a small mud flat, up a hill out of the pond and into the pine plantation behind us. I felt good about the shot, but I never heard the hog go down for good.

Search and Find

We waited until well after dark before we got down. With the silent shot of the subsonic BLK round we knew we didn’t disturb the area much so we waited on another hog.

Nothing showed and once we heard the ATV drive by our location to get two other members of our hunting party we climbed down and quickly found blood. We trailed the blood out of the muddy banks of the pond, up the hill and into the pines. The hog was bleeding a lot and there were lots of bubbles in the blood — indicating I’d hit lung. After a few more minutes and probably 75 yards of trailing done, Crossno spotted the hog piled up dead in some brush.

It turned out to be about a 175- to 200-pound boar with nice cutters. The subsonic 208-grain A-max bullet drove clean through the hog and clearly opened a significant wound channel. While the A-max bullet isn’t specifically designed for hunting, it did a satisfactory job on a super tough critter. Shot placement is critical with the 300 BLK. It doesn’t carry the devastating energy of a high-velocity round, so putting it in the head or heart/lung area is vital.

I recommend shooting some of the hunting-specific 300 BLK bullets on the market for accuracy testing to make sure your rifle likes them. The Freedom Munitions round I used was highly accurate. Pre-hunt range time with targets boosted my confidence in my shot placement.

With plenty of buzz surrounding the 300 BLK, due to it’s subsonic offerings, don’t get the impression this round will solve all your hunting needs. In my opinion this is a niche round that when shot subsonic and suppressed offers tremendous quiet killing opportunities at close ranges. If you stick to the thick woods or small food plots with yardages under 100 yards, the 300 BLK is a ninja-style weapon that is the ultimate silent, but deadly combination.

Vapor Trail Scents

Holmes is the inventor and owner of Vapor Trail Scents. His most popular scent blend is called 33 Point Buck, which is both an attractant and scent eliminator. While its marketed toward the deer bowhunter, it works on hogs and other wildlife, too.

The real secret to its effectiveness is the auto-misting device sold with the scents. It has a canister for the liquid scent, a sealed lid and a hand pump on top. With 10 pumps the unit is prepped for an entire hunt. A small valve at the end of a rubber-coted tube dispenses the liquid scent in a fine mist. The mist wafts in even slight breezes to disperse the molecules.

The first step is to spray down from head to toe, including the bottom of your boots. Spray the mist out from your stand about once an hour to help mask the scent coming off of your clothes and body while hunting.

I’ll admit that I’m a “play the wind” kind of guy. I would rather keep my scent far away from a deer or hog’s nose. With our stands set up more for bowhunting, meaning we would be in close and personal with the hogs and deer that came to feed at the feeders, I used the spray religiously during my three days of hunting. I can also assure you that I stunk plenty while hunting, because of the intense August heat and humidity I was sweating after the ATV ride, and then continually throughout the hunt.

On two of the hunts my scent was blowing directly at the feeder. I had hogs and deer feeding within 20 yards of my stand. I’ve bowhunted for more than 20 years and know of only a time or two where I got a downwind-shot at an animal before it spooked. The last evening of the hunt, I had a mature 8-point buck feeding downwind of me; he hung around for 15 minutes or more. While the deer and hogs seemed a bit “jumpy” they continued to eat downwind me. I’ll admit that was pretty incredible.

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